About face on Burris

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Illinois Governor

It has been several days now and I’ve had time to chill and collect my thoughts. During that time, I have come to realize that my opposition to the seating of Roland Burris as the Junior Senator from Illinois is a mistake and a histrionic reaction to Rod Blagojevich’s mischievous and Machiavellian appointment of a qualified African American.

 

There is no way in hell that accepting Blagojevich’s appointment was the rational act of a black politician concerned about fair black representation in the upper house. Instead, it was the juvenile and selfish maneuvering of a washed up politician who equates the legitimate desire of the African American community to be represented by at least one African American Senator with his appointment. They are not one and the same.

The man or woman chosen to replace the President Elect should have been academically, politically, and professionally the best our community could put forward. Burris fails on that score. He is relatively undistinguished but qualified and is definitely over the hill.

 

But what’s done is done and the President Elect and the Democratic Caucus need to deal rationally with the unsavory politics of this appointment without casting aspersions, as many, including me, have done.

 

This is a legally unassailable appointment. Period. Rod Blagojevich retained the legal authority to make this selection and he made it because the Illinois legislature declined to strip him of this authority. Given the time-frame he constitutionally has to decide whether he would sign or veto any piece of legislation, he probably would have been able to stall long enough to make the appointment anyway and we would still be here. Most reasonable folk understand that he had no moral authority, but the law doesn’t require that.

 

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times dropped the dime on Blagojevich the other day. Reid actively maneuvered against any African American appointment. He opposed Jesse, Danny Davis, and Emil Jones. The fact of the matter is that no Senate Democratic leader has done any heavy lifting to benefit a black Senatorial candidate in a contested situation. Nobody has ever attempted to clear the field to benefit a brotha or sistah. Nobody has ever attempted to dry up a white candidate’s fundraising to help out a black senate candidate. It happens for whites all the time. Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader, actively sought to dry up Kweisi Mfume’s money to benefit Ben Cardin in 2006.


 

The Senate Majority Leader has never done anything to benefit a black Senate candidate before appointment or before a contested primary. It’s a damn shame I didn’t see that before, but I see it now. Despite Bobby Rush’s clumsy, cartoonish injection of race into the initial press conference—he happens to be right. He also happens to be the worst messenger of the truth because of his unwillingness to support Barack Obama for this seat in the first place.

Rikyrah, CPL, y’all are right, and I was wrong.

What is baffling to me though is why some of the same black people who advocate seating Burris don’t castigate Barack Obama for siding against qualified black representation.

 

Jackson Jr informed on Blagojevich

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sandi

Hat Tip: By Don Babwin, Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Shortly after his 2002 election, Gov. Rod Blagojevich told Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. he didn’t appoint the congressman’s wife for lottery director because he had refused to make a $25,000 donation to the governor’s campaign, a person familiar with the conversation told The Associated Press.

“That’s why she’s not getting the job,” the person quoted Blagojevich as saying. The person, a Jackson associate who was interviewed Tuesday by the AP, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing federal investigation.

Jackson’s name has played prominently ever since Blagojevich was arrested last week on corruption charges, including allegations that the governor tried to sell or trade President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat for personal gain.

Jackson has been identified as one of the candidates Blagojevich was considering for the seat, and a criminal complaint said his supporters were willing to raise $1.5 million for the governor if he picked the congressman.

The complaint quotes Blagojevich as saying on federal wiretaps that an associate of the candidate offered to raise money for him if he made the Jackson appointment happen.

Jackson spokesman Kenneth Edmonds declined to comment on the account of the exchange shortly after Blagojevich’s 2002 election but said the Democratic congressman, the son of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, has approached federal investigators to discuss the governor and others for years.

“He has shared information with federal prosecutors about public corruption during the past several years, including information about Blagojevich and others,” Edmonds said.

Jackson has openly sought the Senate position but denies initiating or authorizing anyone to promise anything to Blagojevich on his behalf. The congressman has said federal prosecutors told him he is not a target of their investigation.

The Jackson associate interviewed by the AP did not know whether Jackson’s wife, Sandi had asked for the state lottery job. At the time, Blagojevich was the first incoming Democratic governor after years of Republican rule and had scores of state jobs to fill.

“The governor had kind of penciled Sandi in as lottery director and then asked for contributions from the congressman,” the person said.

Sandi Jackson, who has since been elected to the Chicago City Council, did not return a call to her office seeking comment.

In April, the Chicago Tribune reported that an examination of campaign donations to Blagojevich showed that three in four donors who gave exactly $25,000 received administration favors such as state board appointments or contracts.

It’s also the same amount of money that figured prominently in the testimony of a government witness in the political corruption trial this summer of political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko.

Rezko, who raised more than $1 million for Blagojevich’s campaign fund, was convicted of shaking down companies seeking state business for campaign contributions.

You just can’t make this up

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Chicago 2016

If you live in Chicago and notice several melanin challenged folks sitting in unmarked cars outside the homes of Jesse Jackson Jr or Danny Davis, drop a brotha a line.

Yesterday, after a 90 minute meeting with Governor Rod “Soprano” Blagojevich about the Senate Appointment, Jesse Jr. had this to say:

I am convinced that the Governor has a very thoughtful process that he has put in place and is wrestling and weighing a number of issues in this enormous decision that he has to make…Today, I leave confident that the Governor has put in place processes and that his interview process for this position is thoughtful.

jesse-blagojevich

Today, about 6:00 in the A.M., the Feds arrested the Governor for his so-called “thoughtful process” of extortion and my head exploded as I thought “Lord, what has Jesse Jr. done.”

Reacting yesterday to reports of a federal wiretap,  Governor Soprano said, “It kind of smells of Nixon and Watergate.”  Indeed.

You just can’t make this s*it up.

The more one reads about Blagojevich, the more he resembles the fictional Tony Soprano who masquerades as a legitmate businessman while surreptitiously running a major crime family.  Blagojevich is nothing more than a common criminal and his delusional meltdown into a mobster masquerading as a legitimate politician is as disturbing as it is comical.  Blagojevich makes Kwame Kilpatrick and Bill Jefferson look like statesmen.

Not to be outdone by Jesse Jr, Congressman Danny Davis has also been publicly campaigning for this seat and Governor Soprano had this to say after slipping and calling Davis “Senator.”  

Congressman Davis is a very good person.  He and I have worked together in Congress, and I know the kind of man he is. I know that he is a good, decent man, and you don’t find a lot of that in politics…I’m breaking my rules about speculating on a candidate, but Congressman Davis is here, and I can tell you he’s certainly a strong candidate for the position.

Gawd help us.

Witnessing the minstrel show put on by two senior members of the Congressional Black Caucus shamelessly kissing up to an ethically challenged Governor under federal investigation is yet another black eye for the CBC and a clear sign of their complete bankruptcy as a progressive black institution.

First, Davis and Jackson join a majority of the CBC to sell out the black community at Obama’s request by supporting the bailout of Wall Street over Main Street, and now this.

The President-Elect has feigned ignorance of this matter, but reading the criminal complaint against Blagojevich and the manner in which everyone who approached Governor Soprano was shaken down, it seems implausible to this Skeptical Brotha that word of the Governor’ outrageous extortion didn’t make it’s way back through the grapevine to Barack Obama.

Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn has obviously called on Blagojevich, with whom he has had no communication since 2007, to step down.   It is time for the President-Elect to do the same.